If celebrating another country’s holiday involves consuming great amounts of alcohol, Americans are all too happy to get multicultural. Be it St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras or Cinco de Mayo, if there’s beer, bier or cerveza, we’re there. Who cares about the meaning of the holiday in its country of origin? Just slap on a sombrero, green shamrock or other holiday-appropriate accessory and get to drinking!
Perhaps no foreign celebration excites American beer enthusiasts like Oktoberfest. Just look at the Big Gulp-sized beer steins! The first Oktoberfest was planned in 1810 as a wedding reception and horse race for a Bavarian king. But when the ale started flowing, it quickly became the main attraction. The party tradition has stuck, and, barring a few wars and cholera outbreaks, beer-drinkers have gathered in the same field in Munich, Germany, every year since.
Of course, Oktoberfest events have multiplied throughout the world since then. The Sacramento Turn Verein has hosted this German tradition in our town for 37 years. There’s always rousing music and dancing by groups like Alpen Band California and Camtia Schuhplattler to help revelers maintain the giddiness of the beer buzz. If a dancer gets too dizzy doing the chicken dance, there are heavy German meats and breads for sale to settle the stomach. And when it’s time to sober up, the hot coffee will be waiting at the Vienna Kaffeehaus.
Oktoberfest comes to Sacramento on Friday at 6 p.m. and on Saturday at 5 p.m., with dancing until 11 p.m. both nights. Admission is $10. Lederhosen are optional at the Sacramento Turn Verein, located at 3349 J Street. Call (916) 442-7360 for more information.